Breaking news: St Richard’s sex assault accused appears in court

Court news
Court news

A FORMER health care assistant at St Richard’s Hospital has appeared in court charged with sexual offences against a ‘vulnerable’ patient.

Sajin Kunjappu Panikkassery, 29, formerly of Langton Road, Chichester, appeared at Brighton Crown Court today (Tuesday 1) for the first day of the trial.

Panikkassery denies engaging in sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in her 20s and was staying over night at the hospital.

Marcus Fletcher, prosecuting, said: “The victim is vulnerable and she has mental health issues. She was an easy target.

“There were four members of staff on duty in the ward that night. There were two nurses.”

Mr Fletcher said the staff were ‘significantly briefed’ about the victim’s mental health and were told she was a ‘demanding patient’.

He told the court a patient in the bed next door heard noises coming from the victim’s bed and pulled back the curtain.

“She saw the defendant standing there and at that moment the nurse stopped,” said Mr Fletcher.

“He stopped what he was doing and left.”

The case continues.